The subscriber, in charity to the infirmities of human nature, would willingly believe, that the testimony of Mr. Whitney, upon his first examination, was the result of self-delusions, produced by long cherished and pampered susicions of trivial error, till imagination, supplying the place of memory, had swoln them into * imputations of embezzlement and fraud. Mr. Wi. had been stimulated to bear testimony - against the bank from abroad. The more agavated the charges which he could bring to ear on public opinion against the president of the bank, the fairer would be the prospect of success in defeating the renewal of the charter, and the more acceptable to the spirit of party would be the service he might render by the testimony he should give. The defaced and tattered memorandum, taken, in years long past, from the books, would , give a sort of mysterious pre-emption right of credibility to any colorable detail of circumstantial marative to be connected with it. The instinct of calumny is inventive of details, precisely be cause details make their way most easily to the credit of the hearer, and it has long been remarked by keen observers of human action, that he who accustoms himself to make a truant of his memory, is oftentimes the first to credit his own lie. Whether it was so with Mr. Whitmey, the subscriber cannot undertake to say with certainy; but certain it is that an affirmation most material, and most confidently made, in the first examination of Mr. Whitney, that the notes, which he had discovered in the telJer's drawer, has not been entered on the books when he discovered them, and that they were so entered by his direction, was retracted by himself, after it had been blasted by the production of the entries upon the face of the books themselves. Yet the retraction itself was not rank and candid. It was by assuming an alter native, which, while it abandoned all pretence of sustaining the fact, was yet unwilling to abandon the offensive imputation. When the mpossibility of his pretended interview with the president, of rebuke on the part of Whit*Y, and of tacit confession and blushing pro* of future amendment on the part of Mr. *ddle, was demonstrated by the president’s once from Philadelphia at the time, Mr. Whitney was not prepared with any substituted *ention of details to supply its place. He omitted that there was a discrepancy between "sh demostration and his previous asseverance, but he neither attempted to reconcile them, *or to sortify his own statement by explanation or commutation of its terms. His dishonored memorandum found no endorsement for the honor of the drawer. Other charges of partiality by the president of the bank, in behalf of his distant relatives, Thomas Biddle & Co., had also been scattered abroad upon no better foundation than the fact that Thomas Biddle & Co. are, and have for }*been, among the brokers of the first emionce and most extensive business at Philadelphia or in the Union. That their transactions of business have been, and are, every year, to

the amount of many millions. That their de posites in bank, have been to similar amount. and that they have occasionally been responsible to the bank for more than a million of dollars at once. Brokers of this description are, to all essential purposes, bankers themselves, as as bank in the plenitude of its power and operations, is a broker upon a large scale. Among the transactions of Messrs. Thomas Biddle & Co. with the bank, there was a deposite made by them to a considerable amount, upon which, by agreement, an allowance was once, for a short time, made to them for interest. It appeared upon explanation, that the money thus deposited, was in the possession of Thomas Biddle & Co. as agents of a certain foreign government, and that the pressure on the money market was very great. That the use of the money, for the time during which the interest was allowed, would have been of more value to them than that interest, and the bank having urgent occasion for the use of the money, the interest upon it for a few weeks was allowed, as a consideration for its being left in bank for cmployment there, instead of being withdrawn for the use of the depositors. It was substantially a loan for a time, the principal profit of which was on the side of the bank, and in which the allowance of interest was not equivalent to the profit which Thomas Biddle & Co. would have realized from the same money by withdrawing it. ... As in the cases of moneys paid out to them from the teller's drawer, upon equivalent deposites of stocks transferred, it was done for transactions in which the Biddles were purchasing bills for the bank, acting, not for themselves, but as agents for the bank. In such cases the cash was winted to pay for the bills purchased. The brokers not having the cash on hand, received it from the bank itself, leaving United States’ stocks of equal value in its place, for a few days, until the brokers," agents for the bank, restored the cash, took back their certifiates of stock, and paid interest for the cash they had received, for every day during which it had been withdrawn. This complicated character of the pecuniary operations between the house of Thomas Bid. dle & Co. as brokers, and the bank, must also be remembered in considering the very large amount of their notes discounted at the bank. They might appear, on the books of the bank, indebted to it for the amount of a million, when their debt might not amount to a thousand dollars; the money for which they appeared indebted, being only the sums requisite to pay for the bills purchased for the bank itself. ; In reviewing the whole investigation by the committee of the transactions between the Bank of the United States and the brokers, there is one consideration, which "most forcibly struck the mind of the subscriber, and which he thinks pre-eminently worthy of the consideration of Congress, and of the nation. The charge of favoritism to certain brokers, of connivance with them, to speculate and prey upon the public interests for purposes of usury and extortio

formed a very prominent item in the origin

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* resolutions of the Chairman of the Committee upon which this investigation was instituted. It

all, does he believe that a man of honest and candid mind, who has been induced by false re

was one of those charges which, in its essential presentations to admit and to countenance im:

nature, imported, not simple inadvertence, indiscretion, error of judgment, or mismanagement in the president and directors of the bank, but the sordid peculations of a swindler. It was impossible that those charges should be true, if the president of the Bank of the United States was a man of common honesty. There was no sparing of commentary upon the scanty coincidence of facts which the proposer of the resolution was willing to consider as giving sufficient color to the charge to entitle it to the honor of an inquiry. That there had been, and still wore, large dealings between the brokers and the bank was sufficiently notorious. That the bank and the brokers had com.

petitors, rivals, and enemies, whose rancor was

sharpened by all the stimulants of avarice and ambition, was not less apparent. These passions never fail to have watchful observers in their train. Whispers, it now appears, had been in circulation even from the year 1824, ripening for a term of seven years into rumors of combined and concerted frauds, and embezzlement of the funds of the bank to the private purposes of the president of the bank, and the principal brokers of Philadelphia. What was their foundation? Extensive dealings between the bank and the brokers—of course very large discounts to the brokers. Interest to the amount of a few hundred dollars once or twice allowed for the use of money by the bank to the brokers. Cash taken out of the bank by the brokers for a few days, upon deposite of stock left in its place. Enormous loans to the brokers, sometimes even at "a rate of interest less than six per cent, a year. Superadded to all which the name of the president of the bank was Biddle. The name of the supposed accomplice • broker was Biddle, and they were descended from one great grandfather. To the suspicions of awakened jealousy here were abundant elements for the most nauseous compound of fraud and corruption. Secret communications are accordingly made to the proposer of the resolution for inquiry, and with a predisposition of hostillty to the bank, a plausible denunciation of guilt and dishonor on the part of the president of the bank, assumes the lo. aspect of a public accusation, and invokes the sanction of a le.gislative investigation. Had the reflection once occurred, that to all these great operations, between the brokers and the bank, the government itself was a party,though unseen, the mys: tery would have been explained, without needing a resort to the injurious suspicion that a man honored annually by a series of re-elections to a station of high trust and confidence, was reducing himself, to the level of a common counterfeiter of coins. The subscriber believes that suspicion, though a necessary auxiliary to the faithful discharge of a public trust, should itself be trused with great reserve. A man, con: scious himself of integrity of purpose, should not readily admit into his mind the belief that

putations upon the honor of another, owes him, when disabused by the evidence of unquestion: able testimony, the signal reparation of a candid acknowledgment of error. He never, for a sin. . . gle instance, believed that those dishonorable imputations upon the president of the bank were founded in truth; but when he found them em. bodied in the positive declarations of a witness upon oath, and fortified by a bold exhibition of a contemporaneous memorandum, and a confldent appeal to the books of the bank, he scarcely dared to indulge the expectation that this desperate lunge against a citizen of unsullied honor could §ve no so immedionisototal a discomfiture. The exploration of the accounts of members of Congress and officers of the Government with the bank, came, in the opinion of the subscriber, under the same category as those of editors of newspapers. The resolutions of the House of Representatives authorized the examination by the committee of the books, only as evidence of the proceedings of the corpora. tion. The questions for the committee were: Had they violated the charter? Had they violated . any law of the land? To these inquiries they were limited, and upon these alone could they with propriety report. As an exemplification of the odious nature of further inquisitions, the subscriber will now mention the case of the members of Congress, who, during the present session, have received the compéisation for their public service from the Branch Bank at Washington in advance of the passage of the General Appropriation Act. This is one of the favors to inembers of Congress, equivalent to a loan without interest to each member, of the amount of money which he thus receives from the time of his receiving it until the appropriation act shall have become a law. Its aggregate amount from the commence. ment of the session to this day, in payments to members of Congress, and the Executive offi: cers, falls little short of four hundred thousand dollars. The amount of interest that W have accrued to the bank, had interest been paid by each individual member, would have exceeded $3,000. The subscriber himself is not without doubts of the propriety of this in: ‘dulgence, and confidently avers that nothi which the investigation of the committee has discovered in the proceedings of the president and directors of the bank is of a more question. able character. The member who receives his ay in advance of the appropriation, does not indeed receive it in advance of the service which entitles him to it. But where is the law authorizing the bank to make the payment? The member who receives the money is only accessary to the payment by the bank, and here is many a member of this House, who, in voting for this investigation, little imagined that his own name would be returned among the

thers are reckless and unprincipled. Above |members of Congress, receivers of special for

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< *= vors from the bank. , Many a member, who tperhaps, has received the favor without know ing it; yet is obnoxious in principle to the charge in the original resolution offered by the Chairman of the Committee, quite as obnoxious to the imputation of impure motives in the bank, as the bank can be made by all their transactions with editors of newspapers or printers, James Watson Webb and Mordecai M. Noah, included. One great and insurmountable objection to the right and justice of entering into a scrutiny of motives for proceedings not forbidden by any law, was that the committee could exercise no censorial power of that nature over the president, directors, and officers of the bank, or, at all events, over individuals having dealings with that institution, which those individuals had not an equal right to exercise over the committee, and every one of its members in return. What motive, for example, could impel a member of the committee to call in exercise all the power of Congress to suppress the publication of essays of speculations favorable to the bank in newspapers * Would, not the editor of a newspaper thus inculpated have the same right to ho into the motives of the committeemen’ if, peradventure, he should have been in the habit of making free use of the press to assail and discredit the bank, would not this struggle to deprive the bank of self-defence through the medium of the press, be attributed o the desire of having the monopoly of that powerful engine to himself? Would it not argue a consciousness of weakness in the appeals to public opinion against the bank, if, to sustain the charges against it, there should be an attempt to suppress all the means of self-defence? The freedom of the press, in the language of spirt, means the unlicensed use of that instrument for itself to assail, and a total interdiction of its use to the adversary for defence. . And singular, indeed, would be the section of a charter to a bank which would leave it open to every shaft of slander, and deprive it of all pos. sible means of repelling the assault. . Among the useless, and worse than useless, inquisitions into which the majority of the committee thought themselves justified in descending, were imputations of political misconduct in certain officers of the branch bank at Norfolk, in Virginia. Articles of complaint, as grievous and perhaps as numerous as those of the chairman of this committee against the president and directors at Philadelphia, had been laid before that board against the president and cashier at Norfolk, by a person who had been one of the directors of that branch. A long and patient investigation of those charges had been made by the board at Philadelphia, and one of their cashiers had been sent to make a thorough examination of all the facts of the case upon the spot itself. The charges had been found totally destitute of foundation, and there was among the archives of the bank a voluminous corres. pondence, which was all submitted to the exa

mination of the committee. To give the o

be sufficient to say that the whole controversy ‘especting the accounts of a late navy agent at Norfolk, and the pamphleteering and newspaper war between that officer and one of the auditors of the Treasury, were among the simplest of its elements. After plunging for a series of days into these mysteries, almost deep enough for every member of the committee to take his side upon two or three by-gone contested elections at Norfolk; after plodding over manuscript volumes of acrimonious bitterness from the most pertinacious of complainants ; after o; the long protracted correspondence both o that complainant and df the inculpated officers of the Norfolk branch, with the board at Philadelphia, and the cashier who had made the investigation at Norfolk ; after giving the complainant himself the trouble of repairing to Phioadelphia to sustain his charges, and try over again criminations and recriminations, which a judicial tribunal, after summoning half the inhabitants of the borough of Norfolk, and subject

• faint idea of the extent of this inquiry, it may

ing them to an endless list of interrogatories, and cross examinations, would scarcely have been competent to solve—after the consumption of several days in these inquiries, the last result of which, Inust, under any possible termination of their investigation, have left them precisely where they began, the majority of the committee concluded to desist from what the subscriber believed the committee ought never to have undertaken, and what the chairman reorts “they have been compelled to abandon or want of time.” The complaints made against the president of the bank at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in the summer of 1829, and the correspondence between the board at Philadelphia, and the late Secretaries of the Treasury and of War, form a portion of the documents relating to the books and proceedings of the bank, called for by the committee, and communicated to them. . They are not noticed in the report of the chairman, but, in the opinion of the subscriber, are more deserving of the attention of Congress, and of the nation, than any other part of the papers commented upon in the report. An effort very thinly veiled on the part of two of the Executive Departments of the General Government to exercise, a control, political and pecuniary, over the proceedings of the bank and its branches, a control highly exceptionable in prin. ple, acd even contrary to law, appears to him to be fully disclosed in those papers. He will not permit himself to inquire iuto the motives of the agents in those transactions. It is sufficient for the protection of the public interest that the projected encroachments of power were disconcerted and laid aside. Among the objects of investigation authorized by the majority of the committee, transcending, in the opinion of the subscriber, the powers delegated to them by the resolution of the House, and therefore unwarranted and improper, were six sets of interrogatories, amounting in all to one hundred and sixty one questions, addressed by one member of the committee to the president of the bank, never submitted to



the committee for their consideration, but drawn
up, a large portion of them, after the committee
had ck)sed their examinations at Philadelphia,
and after the subscriber had returned to Wash-
ington, and resumed his seat in the House.—
They reminded him of certain popular works of
instruction for children, in which universal or
particular histories, or abstruse and profound
scien es are taught by question and answer.—
The subscriber has found many of them, upon
|. passing his powers of comprehension,
ut they appear to comprise a compendium of
olitical economy, and the skeleton of a pro-
ound dissertation upon coins, currency, paper
credit, circulating and banking. The subscri-
ber cannot withhold his admiration from the
comprehensive views and profound knowledge
of the subject discovered in those inquiries, and
believes that satisfactory answers to them might
form a very useful second, though some larger
volume, to the Legislative and Documentary
History of the Bank of the United States, com-
piled by the indefatigable research and industry
of the Clerk of the House of Representatives,
and his associate. But a large portion of the
|. might, with more propriety, be ad-
essed in a circular to the presidents of all the
banks in the four quarters of the globe, than to
the president of the Bank of the United States.
And it may be doubted, whether of many of the
inquiries, a convention of all the bankers in the
world would not be reduced to the necessity of
leaving them as they found them—to be solved
only by the ingenuity and sagacity of their au.
thor. The subscriber objected to them as they
were presented in clusters; not but that some of
the questions might be within the compass of
the powers and duties of the committee, but
that they were buried in .# a mass of hetero-
geneous matter, that it would have occupied
the committee to the last moment of their hap-
pily limited time to extract the pertinent mat-
ter from its encasement. The subscriber believ-
edit quite unjustifiable, under the authority of
the committee, to make of this inquiry a gene-
ral disputation upon banking.
Upon the mass of documents and tabular
statements, collected by the committee, and re-
ported to the House, the subscriber has so im-
perfect a knowledge that he can form no dis-
tinctive opinion. He has never had access to
the greater part of them. They were called
for by resolutions submitted by the chairman,
and one or two other members of the committee,
without disclosing the objects which it was ex-
pected they would elucidate. Most of the time,
while the committee were at Philadelphia, was
consumed in the compilation of them by the of
ficers of the bank. When collected, they re-
mained in the possession of the chairman of the
committee to enable him to prepare his report,
and the subscriber has not even seen a consid-
derable portion of them. He will confine him-
self, therefore, to those which have been noticed
n the report of the chairman and majority of the
committee. -
1. The charge of usury, as having been ta-

at Lexington, as set forth in t

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case of the corporation against Owens, and others, reported in the second volume of Peters' Reports of Cases argued and adjudged in the Supreme Court of the United States, was one of those upon which the chairman of the committee had largely expatiated in his speeches, at the time when he brought forward his resolution for investigation. No information varing the state of the facts as they were then explained, was obtained by the committee. It was then sufficiently shown, that in all the transactions of this ase there had been neither usury, nor anything resembling usury, on the part of the bank. That it was a case in which the bank had not done, but had suffered grievous wrong. A transaction, in which the subscriber has no hesitation in saying, that if the parties had been, on both sides, individuals, the plea upon which the defendants extrated themselves from the engagements which they had contracted, would have been, in no wise, Creditable to them.

The bank had discounted a promissory note of Owens, for five thousand dollars,"upon which '. other defendants were joint signers with linn.

5,000 dollars in notes of the Bank of Kentucky,
promising to pay the same sum in specie in three
years from the date of the note. At that time,
the notes of the Bank of Kentucky were depre-
ciated, and purchasable in market, at a dis.
count of 54 per cent. Owens received them at
their nominal value, and promised payment for
them in specie three years after date. The
notes had been received by the Lexington
branch, at their nominal value, and partly for
Government deposites. To them, they were
equivalent to specie. Within six months after
the transaction, they recovered their nominal
value. Had the Lexington branch retained
them, they would have been repaid at their full
value, with lawful interest, till the time of pay-
ment. They never received one dollar of usu-
rious interest upon them—never one dollarmore
than was actually paid to the holder of them by
the Bank of Kentucky, from which they had
issued. The money was equivalent to specio
to Owens himself, at the time when he received
it, and he paid, with it, debts of his own at
their nominal value." -
But the branch at Lexington, in the case he
fore the court, was, as many a suitor besides
has been, made the victim of a special plea and
demurrer. The plea set up by the defendants
to escape the payment of an honest debt, set
forth, not that the notes of the Kentucky
were of less value than specie, to the branch at
Lexington, the loaner—not that they were of
less value than specie to Owens, the borrower
and receiver—not that, at the time when the
note was made payable, they were of less value
than specie even in the open market, but, that
at the time when the note of Owens was discounted,
the notes of the Kentucky Bank were arsenator
Depreciated, so that 100 dollars thereof nomi-
nally were of the tunnext valur of only 54

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ken some ten years since by the branch bank,

dollars. To this plea of general depreciatio,


For this, note, owens received the sum of


and current talue, there was, perhaps, incautiously, what the lawyers call a demurrer on the part of the bank, which demurrer, according to the practice of judicial courts, precludes the party from the benefit of any other facts than those specially set forth in the plea. Special pleading has long been known * the practitioners of the law, as the science of spreading snares for the unweary, and so odious has it become from the frequency with which it is thereby made to operate injustice, that in many States of this Union, legislative acts have abolished it altogther by providing that in all

cases whatever a defendant shall be at liberty to

take the general issue, and give all special matter in evidence under it. In this case, however, the general issue did not suit the purposes of the defendants. They could not aver that they had not made the promise to pay' the money for which they were sued by the bank. They could not deny that the Kentucky Bank notes had been, to the borrower and to the lenders, equivalent to so much silver. They could not deny, that long before the note became payable, the Kentucky Bank notes had recovered their full value. Owens himself had not the face to join in the plea, but the joint signers of his note, finding it more convenient to charge the bank with usuary, than to fulfil their engagements, screened themselves from performance by this plea of general depreciation and current value, and by averring, in their special plea, contrary to the fact, that there had been a corrupt and unlawful agreement between the bank and themselves, that the bank should receive more than lawful interest upon the loan to Owens. It was no such thing. There had been no such corruptagreement; but the bank, by demurring to the plea, deprived itself of the means of disproving that allegation, and upon that state of things, the decision of the case, by a bare and doubting majority of the Judges of the Supreme Court, was against the bank. With the utmost deference for the opinions of that court, the subscriber believes they never gave a judgment of less authority than in this identical case. The judges of the Circuit Court for the District of Kentucky, had differed in opinion upon the case. The judgment of the Supreme Court was delivered by Judge Johnson, who declared himself to have entertained very serious doubts of the sufficiency of the averments in the plea. After stating those doubts, he adds, “Iam content, however, to unite with the tunes of my brethren, who make up rat Majority on this point, in holding the averonents to be sufficient, because, in a considerable darth, of authorities on this subject, I find it decided in the case of Bolton vs. Durham, in Croke's Reports, Cro. Eli. 642, that tax cox. FE8810N or THE QUQ ANIMO IMPLIED 1N A DEMtumen will affect a case with usury, when A Viny sixilah case in the same book, in which the plaintiff had traversed the plea, was left to the jury with a favorable charge. Benningfield vs. .ishley, Cro. Eliz. 741. Here, then, Judge Johnson declares, that after very serious doubts, he was content townite with his three brothers to

make up a majority against the bank, because he found in an old reporter of the time o Queen Elizabeth, that the confession of the quo animo (that is, of the alleged but fictitious corrupt agreement) implid in a demurrer, made that usury, which, by the authority of the very same book, would not have been usury, if the plaintiffhad traversed the plea, that is, had denied and tendered, in issue, the pretended corrupt agreement. If, then, the branch at Lexington, instead of demurring, had traversed the plea of the defendants, that is, if they had denied the existence of the corrupt agreement, averred b the defendant, but which had never existed, the Supreme Court would have decided that there was no usury in the case, and the defendants would have been compelled to perform their lawful engagement instead of evading it by stigmatising themselves with corruption. The subscriber will pursue no farther this analysis of the decision of a majority of the Judges of the Supreme Court of the United States. In cases were that venerable tribunal is at liberty to harmonize in judgment with the award of moral sensibility, "there is none to whose discernment and discrimination he would bow with more respectful deference. But in the review of judicial decisions upon contracts avoided by pleas of usury or statutes of limitation, there would be always found “a considerable dearth of authorities” in the English reporters, traced back, even to the age of Elizabeth, in which the fiat of the law has been in unison with the dictate of justice. In one of the precedents cited by Judge. Johnson, the court is said to have observed “there is nothing immoral in this transfiction, but it is against a prohibitory statute.” This remark was not wholly applicable to the case of the Bank of the United States against Owens and others. Of that transaction it could not be said there was nothing in it immoral. There was something in it profoundly immoral, though not on the part of the bank. Even the violation of the prohibitory statute was an inference against the fact, from the confession implied in a demurrer. The bank was first debarred from the recovery of a just debt, and then branded with usury upon the plea of general depreciation and current value of the notes of the Bank of Kentucky, when in fact there was not a cent of usury taken or even reserved. The subscriber, however, cannot surpress his surprise that this case should have been selected and should now be persisted in, as the head and front of the offences of the Bank of the United States. Not alone, because, upon a thorough examination of the facts, as they appear upon the face of the report, it is the settied conviction of his mind that, throughout the whole of this transaction, the bank was the innocent and deeply injured party—not alone, because he deems it would be the summitofimjustice to hold the Bank of the United States responsible in its charter for an unlucky demurrer pleaded seven years ago, in a suit brought by the branch at Lexington, against delinquent

debtors. But because, setting aside all those

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